literature, cinema, fine arts

This is England (2006)

Very British - Satires and Grotesques

  • Produced by Müpa Budapest

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In England at the start of the 1980s, shaving your head had various different connotations. The skinheads in Shane Meadows film certainly resemble each other in both their sheer haircuts and their footwear. And also in the fact that they are part of a specfic working-class subculture. But - as the film's title indicates - This Is England does not attempt an ethnographically precise portrayal of British skinheads and their Dr Martens boots. Instead, it presents trends that could be seen as the forerunners of the doubts and contradictions of the UK in the 21st century.

The story begins in 1983, a year after the Falklands War had taken place. The main character, Shaun, is a 12-year-old boy whose father died in the 74-day war, along with 244 of his compatriots. His father's death is one of the main reasons the boy, who is teased and bullied at school, joins up with a group of skinheads. The youths, who are much older, take him under their wing and instruct him in the ways of the world. We are in the days of Margaret Thatcher. The British steel and mining industries are in decline. The Midlands, where the characters in the story reside, is particularly hard hit. Surrounded by uncertainty and confusion, the skinheads become ever more divided. Shaun later ends up in a splinter group with ties to English ultra-nationalism, racism and the National Front. But how can a 12-year-old boy be responsible for such decisions, when all he really wants is a community and friendship? This is what makes the film so special: at times humourously, at times painfully, it questions how much more mature the adults are than its youthful hero.

In English, with Hungarian subtitles.
The discussions before and after the screenings are conducted in Hungarian.

Presented by: Müpa Budapest

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  • director
    Shane Meadows
  • host
    András Réz


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